FRIENDSHIP, Maine - The sinking of two lobster boats is rekindling memories of hostilities among lobstermen two years ago that led to a near-fatal shooting, boats being sunk and a barrage of lobster trap vandalism along Maine's lobster-rich coast.Someone this week sabotaged two lobster boats, allowing them to drift free and flood with water before washing ashore in this postcard-pretty harbor. The dispute has shone a light on the unwritten rules of the sea, where fishermen often take matters into their own hands to settle grudges.
Lobstermen for generations have cut trap lines and shouted threats to settle differences over who can set their traps where. In more extreme instances, they've been known to ram boats and fire warning shots into the air.
The vandalism crossed the line late Monday night, when the 28-foot Lobstah Taxi and the 35-foot Fantaseas were sunk. Only a portion of the larger boat's cabin was above water when it was found Tuesday morning on an island outside the harbor. The smaller boat was found on a mainland beach, but escaped serious damage.
Investigators don't know if the attacks were the result of a personal vendetta or a territorial feud. At the least, they've brought unwanted attention to this fishing community 75 miles northeast of Portland.